New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick reiterated the obvious on Friday.
The legendary NFL leader was asked during his press conference ahead of the game against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if he would’ve had the same success without the quarterback. Belichick replied, “Of course not.”
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“We’ve talked about that for two decades. I think I’ve been on the record dozens of times saying there’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady. I still feel that way. I was very lucky to have Tom as the quarterback and to coach him. He was as good as any coach could ever ask for,” he said.
The Sunday night game is one of the most highly anticipated of the season.
Brady has been downplaying the trip to Foxborough, saying it’s more of a business trip, and he’s trying to get the win. He said he hadn’t “thought too much” about his emotions returning to Gillette Stadium and then eventually walking out of the tunnel onto the field.
“I haven’t thought too much about it. I’m just going to try to do what I always do: Go be a great quarterback. Obviously, I understand the opponent, I know all those guys, they’re some of my great friends [and] they will be for the rest of my life,” Brady said Thursday. “I know a lot of coaches, players, the owners, the staff. It will be great to see everyone after the game, but up until the game I’m focused on trying to go win a football game.”
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Brady also had praise for Belichick.
“He’s a great coach, obviously a great coach. [He] has everyone prepared, does a great job of that. Obviously, I’ve said before, [he] taught me a lot. He was a great mentor for me for a long time, and I really enjoyed my time in New England. But, at the same time, I’m super excited about what we’ve done here. I’ve got a great group of coaches here, an amazing group of guys that still motivate me and inspire me to be the best I can be for this team and this organization,” Brady said.
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“The last 18 months have been very fulfilling in a lot of different ways, and I love my football experience here as well. I’ve been very blessed. I went [to] high school football, where I fell in love with [football]. I went to Michigan, which was amazing for me – had its challenges but I learned a lot. The 20 years in New England were incredible. I learned a lot. Coming down here for a year and a half, I’ve learned a lot. I have nothing but incredible thoughts, memories, emotions towards all of the kinds of football experiences I’ve had. That’s obviously one that was the longest, and I still have a lot of great friends there, but they know I want to kick their butt this week. They’ll know exactly how I’m feeling once I’m out there.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.